Top 200 : Deloitte/Management magazine Executive of the Year Don Braid – Clear Vision

Don Braid has been with freight and logistics company Mainfreight since 1994, after joining the firm as part of the acquisition of Daily Freightways (where he had been for 16 years). He has led the company in strengthening its global logistics business and ensuring an increased diversification of revenue streams across many countries, trade lanes and activities provides natural protection for earnings.
Educated at Timaru Boys’ High School, Braid has been described as “possibly the most self-effacing leader of major listed company in New Zealand” and is widely regarded as straight-talking and strong leader. He likes to surround himself with clever, energetic people who are equally as dedicated as him to meeting and exceeding the needs of Mainfreight’s customers. He runs the businesses with consciously egalitarian slant and is no fan of bureaucracy or the trappings of hierarchies.
Under his guidance, the freight and logistics company has grown and expanded to now run operations in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the United States.
He is 100 percent dedicated to Mainfreight and its future and has led the company in consolidating its position as an international business, progress which will bring rewards not only for that company but for New Zealand as it continues to expand offshore. He knows where the company is going and, more importantly, how it will get there. Mainfreight chairman Bruce Plested says Braid is “a very complete modern and old-fashioned leader wrapped up in one”.
Despite international growth and success, Braid is passionate about keeping the company proudly Kiwi-owned and has been an outspoken voice on local transport and infrastructure matters.


JUDGES’ COMMENTS
WINNER
Don Braid

Chief executive, Mainfreight
With Don Braid at the wheel, Mainfreight is in safe and skilful hands. Braid consistently delivers for shareholders and stakeholders alike. He has clear vision of what it will take to navigate the unforgiving roads and heavy traffic of the international freight marketplace – and so far he has kept this business right on track. He is an outstandingly consistent and capable chief executive. He delivers on Mainfreight’s bold and expansive strategy while still bringing home the bacon for his shareholders. He is unquestionably our Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 Executive of the Year.

FINALIST
Rob Fyfe

Chief executive, Air New Zealand
Rob Fyfe is the polished and personable face of the new lean and globally competitive Air New Zealand. When other international airlines are finding their wings clipped, this straight talking, and well regarded leader, has proved his point. He’s the right man for the job – at just the right time.
Fyfe joined Air New Zealand at the start of 2003 as chief information officer, before becoming group general manager airlines from October 2003 until his appointment as CEO in October 2005. He has an enviable track record of integrity and professionalism and wide ranging business experience. Prior to joining Air New Zealand, he held range of senior management positions both within New Zealand and overseas, including roles with the National Australia Bank, Bank of New Zealand, Telecom NZ and ITV Group in the UK.

FINALIST
Sam Knowles

Chief executive, Kiwibank
When it comes to capable, motivational and effective leadership Sam Knowles delivers with interest. He is highly respected and success-driven executive who has made Kiwibank fly when many thought it would struggle to get off the ground. Involved in the founding of Kiwibank before taking the top job, Knowles embraces challenge and thrives on delivering top results. He believes in fostering an innovative culture in the organisation and encourages top performances from his teams. An unabashed promoter of New Zealand success, he has an extensive background in the banking industry in New Zealand and Australia, with senior management experience in marketing, strategic planning, retail services and business development.

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